The Beautiful Desert Rose- How to Grow and Flower Adeniums

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Desert Rose 'Sweetheart'

Desert Rose ‘Sweetheart’

Adeniums are well-loved for their gorgeous flowers and their bulbous, caudiciform trunks. They are highly sought after plants and can remain a manageable size for years making them valuable container plants.

Adeniums are arid land plants native to sub-Saharan Africa and although there are several species, Adenium obesum is the one that’s frequently grown as an ornamental. The common name is Desert Rose and when plants are in bloom, they create a spectacular floral display.

Ornamental Beauty
When grown from seed, the plant forms a caudex, or swollen base or trunk, and this adds to its ornamental beauty. In recent years, much hybridization has been done creating a diverse range of flower colors and interesting floral forms. In order to propagate these hybrids, the mother plant is grafted onto a seedling, thus giving the plant a full, attractive caudex as well as a wide array of flowers in various colors, sizes and shapes.

Because they can tolerate dry conditions, adeniums are well suited for the home environment being able to tolerate quite a bit of neglect. Keep temperatures high, preferably above 60˙F, although they can take it a bit cooler if grown very dry. Really the hotter, the better, so a 70˙F or higher air temperature is best.

In their native habitat, adeniums grow in full sun so they need good light to thrive. Direct sunlight is preferable, especially when they are in their active growth phase during the summer months.

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Grow The Largest Flower in The World- Corpse Flower (Amorphophallus titanum) A Plant Geek’s Biggest Challenge!

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

The Corpse Flower, Amorphophallus titanum, is a single inflorescence that reaches an astounding height of 6-9’ tall. It only Corpse Flower flowers once every 7-8 years and only 3-5 blooming events, from plants grown in cultivation, happen worldwide each year. This rare plant is for plant geeks who want a challenge and will be committed to nearly a decade of nurturing and pampering this rare and attractive giant.

Corpse Flower was first found in the tropical forests of Sumatra where even there, it is rare in its native habitat. It is a member of the Aroid family and also known as the Titan Arum.

About the Bloom
The bloom is magnificent with its frilly-edged maroon petal completely circling the center spadix. It’s known as the Corpse Flower because of the raunchy smelling odor, similar to rotten meat, when in full bloom. However, this does attract the pollinators like flies and beetles in the wild. In cultivation, hand pollination is required. A beautiful seed stalk forms after the flower is pollinated…

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Growing Outrageously Colorful Tropical Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

These large, eye-catching, dinner-plate sized hibiscus represent the words “tropical flower” better than any other. Originating in Asia and the Pacific Islands, Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the state flower of Hawaii. Decades of intense cross breeding with the rosa sinensis species has produced some unbelievable multi-colored blooms. The American Hibiscus Society was formed in 1950 to promote, develop and improve upon the hundreds of varieties that were quickly emerging.

Single vs. Double
There is both single and double flowering tropical hibiscus in the rosa sinensis species. The ‘Fancy’ cultivars have growth habits of both upright and spreading. Within this group, reside two general forms: the brightly colored, usually sold colored single blooms (sometimes double) that propagate easily and are often used as seasonal potted plants as well as tropical landscape shrubs. hese are often sheared to hedges in frost-free landscapes.

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Growing a Vanilla Bean- The Coveted Culinary Spice

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Vanilla, or Vanilla planifolia, is a vining orchid native to Mexico and it’s one of the most highly sought after spices in cultivation. Vanilla has become a Vanilla plantmainstay flavoring and essence in the world of culinary and perfumes. Today, vanilla is grown mostly for commercial production in Madagascar, Reunion Island, Comoro Islands, Indonesia and Mexico.

The Aztecs first used vanilla for flavoring in cocoa. The long vanilla bean pods were dried and cured to produce its distinctive flavor. Today, the pods are sometimes used whole and the flavoring is drawn out by infusion or the pods are split and the tiny seeds are scraped out. You may have seen tiny seeds infused in creams or custard based dishes such as Crème Brûlée.

Growing Habit
The Vanilla orchid grows wild in tropical forests and comes from one of the oldest plant families (Orchidaceae). Ninety-five percent of the world’s vanilla bean trade comes from one species, Vanilla planifolia. The vine can reach up to 30 meters long and the pods form in bean-like clusters.

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Growing and Fruiting Bananas

Banana 'Super Dwarf Cavendish'

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Whether the banana is a dwarf banana, a tall banana, a red banana or a variegated banana, in the genus Musa the basic cultural needs are the same and growing your own bananas is an exciting and rewarding process, especially when you harvest your first delicious homegrown fruit.

Plant Structure
Bananas are really bulbs much like a daffodil. The vegetative part is made up of leaf petioles tightly stacked together to form a trunk or pseudostem. Like all flowering bulbs, the bud itself is under the soil and as the cycle of flowering approaches the bud emerges from the bulb or the base of the plant and rises up through the trunk or pseudostem to emerge at the top and create a flower or inflorescence and in time bananas.

The Secret to Flowering or Fruiting a Banana
When you grow bananas for fruit, the environment has to be ideal many months before the bud is visible, therefore, a young plant must have optimum conditions for successful flowering and fruiting. Also, pay attention to the variety of banana for some bananas are more tolerant of less than optimal conditions.

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How to Grow and Fruit Figs in your Garden or Container

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Figs (Ficus carica) are some of the best fruiting plants for both the garden and containers. They are almost fool proof in their culture and yield a surprising amount of fresh fruit in one season.

Outdoor Planting
Figs can be grown in most areas of the country as a landscape shrub or tree in the south up to zone 8 or higher and with protection as far north as zone 5 or even zone 4 depending on the planting site. Under most growing conditions, they are deciduous, shedding their leaves to bare stems in late fall and winter. This gives the gardener an advantage as the dormant plants can be easily protected for wintering over in colder zones.

The Potted Fig
Figs can also be grown as container plants year-round. The pot size will restrict growth, which helps contain the size. Some varieties, such as ‘Petite Negra,’ grow well and produce an abundance of fruit in a pot as small as 6″. They can be moved outside in the summertime and back inside during the winter months. Do not be alarmed when your fig drops its leaves while inside. It is simply going into its winter dormancy. Reduce the amount of water given to the plant during dormancy but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

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Mulberry – Easy-to-Grow Berries for Container Gardeners

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Mulberry trees have been well loved by historic figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Washington, purchased 1500 white and black

Dwarf Mulberry ‘Dwarf Everbearing’  (Morus nigra)

Dwarf Mulberry ‘Dwarf Everbearing’ (Morus nigra)

mulberry trees (‘Morus alba’ and ‘Morus nigra’) in 1774, and used them for presidential plantings. Jefferson grew these fruit trees in Monticello, Virginia where he lined both sides of the road around his house with mulberry trees.

Mulberry trees are popular throughout the world, including Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Lately, the demand for these trees has surged in the U.S. and finding mulberry trees that bear fruit early, grow rapidly and produce sweet berries is sometimes difficult. At Logee’s, we have the perfect varieties of mulberry trees for containers or if you have outdoor space, they can be planted directly in the ground for many years of enjoyment.

The Fruit
Mulberries range from cylindrical to oblong and can get as long as two inches in length. The ripe berries dangle from the stem showing off their brilliant black or deep red coloring. Their taste is reminiscent of a cross between a strawberry and raspberry and the flavor can be slightly sweet to honey sweet. They have been used in ice cream, jams, jellies and pies. The fragile skin of the mulberry has discouraged commercial use of this berry but if you don’t mind purple berry juice stains on your fingertips, then it is well worth growing this tree in your home garden.

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